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Brian Pearce is the Senior Vice President and Head of Retail, Mobile Channel and Digital Innovations for Wells Fargo.
The revolution wasn’t televised, it was mobilized. And it’s over. Consumers have spoken and it’s clear that they expect to be able to do anything and everything on a mobile device.
When Wells Fargo first launched its mobile channel in summer 2007, we surveyed customers and asked them what sort of transactions they wanted to be able to do on their mobile devices. In that first survey, a vast majority said “none”. The first mobile web-enabled phones were just coming to market, data plans were expensive and access was slow. A few early adopters were ready to try mobile banking, but most customers were just not there.
They couldn’t picture how it would work and weren’t sure it would be secure.
Early on, we focused on mobile as an “on-the-go” and a “bite-sized” channel, and offered a small selection of “mobile-appropriate” transactions in tune with what our customers needed at the time. We learned since that we weren’t thinking big enough.
Customers constantly use mobile, not just on the go, but on the couch, at the kitchen table, at their desk at work and in bed – managing their entire financial lives on phones and tablets anytime, anywhere. When customers couldn’t access all the online features on the mobile side of the house, they just pointed their mobile browsers at the online site and pinched and zoomed their way through the desktop experience.
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The implications of this behavior change have been far-reaching and subtle. Mobile shouldn’t be a separate team, or experience or “Phase 2” of a project. Rather, mobile needs to be embedded into the foundation of every business plan a company makes. You need to assume that anything you do digitally will be accessed on a mobile device by most of your customers some of the time.
Don’t dumb down your mobile experience or try to keep complex tasks from your mobile users. They’ll just go around your roadblocks. Deal with them, streamline them and use the mobile imperative as a way to improve your overall digital experience.
Mobile doesn’t change anything about customer behavior but it changes everything about customer expectations. The mobile channel is a set of capabilities that provides the ability to create new and amazing experiences for customers. However, their fundamental needs are unchanged. Mobile doesn’t create new financial tasks, it simply gives customers new ways to perform them, hopefully in a way that’s easier and more engaging.
Stop treating mobile as some odd new thing. It’s not. It’s your same customers, with their same needs just looking to connect with you in a new way. Take advantage of the power of mobile to delight them, but don’t be distracted by the technology and the possibilities. Focus on the customer. Focus on the customer. Focus on the customer.
The revolution is over. The customer has won. They’ve picked a new channel that they love, that makes it easy and convenient for them to manage their lives. It’s up to us as providers, financial or otherwise, to deal with it. Let’s get to work.